Cairngorm Blessed Thistle

Total Score: 6.4/10 Earth1 Malt1 Tea1 Nonicpint1

Wax my trousers it’s hot today! Damn Australian climate… anyway today’s bruview, apart from being #491 in beers I’ve reviewed, is indeed an intriguing proposition – a Scottish Brown Ale brewed with thistle (you know those annoying thorny weeds that grow noxiously and are the symbol of Scotland, because when you live in a country that reveres boiled sheep stomach packed with its own heart and lungs then a thistle isn’t such a bad thing now is it) which is, to me at least, an interesting plant to brew with (how do they handle the thorns? Is the head brewer covered in thistle scars? Just why Cairngorm?). Enough pointless banter me – your beer is getting warm [that’s how they drink it in Scotland me, yeah suck it!].

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Looks great. Presents a hazy red tinted caramel with a beige half centimetre creamy head, good head retention, bit of carbonation activity in the glass. 8/10.

S: Aroma is earthy with toffee notes and a hint of spicy ginger… arggh no – it has ginger added to it – every beer I’ve ever had with ginger has been rubbish! Ginger in beers is quite literally the bane of my beer-existence. Other than ginger there is a metallic note and a sort of black tea hint (must be the thistle). 6/10.

T: Thankfully the ginger in this brew is a non-event *sigh of relief* actually it’s not bad – starts out all earthy, following this is a distinct gunpower tea character (I’m certain this is the thistle), subdued caramel/toffee notes, and a musty/earthy more dry than bitter finish. If I had to level a complaint (and I do) it is that the flavour is far too muted. I do however like gunpowder tea (if you haven’t tried it yet get down to your nearest tea shop and get a small tin of the stuff – it is good shit yo). 6/10.

M: Mid to light, slightly watery bodied, with a flat British pub carbonation. Apart from the slight wateriness this is done to style. 7/10.

D: As a novelty I would rate this: Mildly loopy. As an Ale this definitely needs more flavour intensity (with less ginger though – I’ll never understand why ginger gets put in beers it is generally abysmal in drinks, cooking with ginger is fine though) to get into my fridge door. I will however rate this as the only beer I can ever say I’ve picked up a gunpowder tea flavour (i.e. a smoky green tea taste), so form that I would say try it once. 7/10.

Food match: I wouldn’t stew on what to eat with this, just casserole a decision [see what I did there – I tried to be clever with puns and failed miserably].